Boreriggen West Hercules

Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil announced plans to commence drilling on 20 to 25 exploration wells on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) in 2014.

Of the wells, around two-thirds will be operated by Statoil.

Statoil NCS exploration senior vice president Gro Haatvedt said compared to an industry average of 49%, the company’s exploration success rate on NCS has been more than 70% in the last five years.

"This confirms that our exploration strategy is paying off," Haatvedt added.

In 2014, the company will continue the exploration campaign in the Barents Sea with five to seven new wells, test potential in the Hoop area and continue exploration drilling around the Johan Castberg discoveries (Skrugard and Havis).

The company is said to be a partner in the Wisting Central discovery operated by OMV in PL537 announced in September.

During Q2-Q3 of 2014, Statoil will drill the Atlantis and Apollo prospects in PL615, located about 50km north of PL537.

Statoil is currently drilling in the Johan Castberg area the Skavl prospect and this will be followed by the Kramsnø and Drivis prospects in late 2013 or early 2014.

"We still believe we can find more oil in the Johan Castberg area to make the field development project more robust. Currently we are evaluating several prospects around Johan Castberg for drilling in 2014."

In the North Sea, the company plans to explore around the King Lear discovery and continue its hunt for barrels in the Utsira High area.

The company will drill the Geitungen appraisal well in PL265 in the Johan Sverdrup / greater Utsira High area, at the turn of the year, along with the Tastaveden prospect in PL628. In 2014-2015 two new wells will be drilled in PL146/PL333.

The Romeo prospect will test the potential north of King Lear, while the Julius prospect will appraise the King Lear discovery and also test additional potential south of the find.

In the Norwegian Sea, the focus will be to mature the deep-water exploration campaign next year in the Aasta Hansteen area, expected to commence in 2015, the company said.

Image: Boreriggen West Hercules. Photo courtesy of Ole Jørgen Bratland.